Smith: Team success beats individual win

31 July 2012 / 16:28

British gymnast Louis Smith hailed his Olympic team bronze medal-winning team-mates and admitted standing next to them on the podium surpassed his pommel horse bronze of four years ago.

Smith, who only competed on his specialist piece of apparatus - the pommel horse - in Monday's historic team final, said the team's achievements means a whole lot more to British gymnastics than his individual bronze in Beijing.

"It's a completely different feeling," Smith said. "When you're out there on the pommel horse you're out on your own, but to be part of that team, going to each piece and to have the crowd erupting after each piece of apparatus - to get a medal is just unbelievable.

"In the pinnacle of competition, London 2012, to get a medal is just the icing on the cake so far. To be captain of these boys and to be working with them over the past 10 years - I've spent my life with these guys."

Smith, a poster boy for the London Games and a real medal prospect on the pommel horse, reserved special praise for Kristian Thomas, who along with Smith, Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis and Sam Oldham, won Britain's first men's team gymnastics medal in a century.

Thomas, one of the most consistent British gymnasts over the years who until now has flown under the radar alongside Purvis, delivered a consummate performance under crushing pressure to help bring home the bronze.

The Wolverhampton-born gymnast nailed a stunning vault totalling 16.550 before solid and clean high bar and floor routines added considerable scores to Britain's total.

"Kristian was a hero. All those guys are heroes," Smith said. "When Kristian stuck his vault, there was uproar and from each piece after that it was unbelievable.

"That's the Olympic fever. It adds extra pressure and expectation but you can really use it to your advantage when they get behind you. We were just buzzing all the way round."

Thomas' consistency helped to give GB the edge over Ukraine, who were edged off the podium following Japan's successful appeal with 271.526 points to Britain's 271.711.